Traveling During Pregnancy

Traveling During Pregnancy

In most cases, pregnant women can travel safely until the due date. But traveling is not recommended if you have complications of pregnancy. If you are planning a trip, talk to your OB/GYN. And no matter how you decide to travel, think about your comfort and safety in advance.

Talk about travel plans with your OB/GYN. Traveling is not recommended if you have certain complications, including:

  1. Pre-eclampsia
  2. Premature rupture of the membranes
  3. The threatened miscarriage or preterm labour
  4. Placenta previa

Make sure your travel insurance covers you in any case, such as pregnancy-related medical care, during childbirth, preterm birth, and any emergency during pregnancy.

When to travel during pregnancy

Some women choose not to travel in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy because  of nausea and vomiting and feel very tired in these early stages. The risk of miscarriage is also higher in the first 3 months, regardless of whether you are traveling or not.

Traveling in the last months of pregnancy can be tiring and uncomfortable. Thus, many women believe that the best time to travel or vacation is in the middle of pregnancy, between 4 and 6 months.

Flights Traveling During Pregnancy

Flying is not harmful to you or your baby, but discuss any health problems or pregnancy complications with your doctor before flying.

The likelihood of giving birth is naturally higher after 37   weeks  (around 32 weeks if you're carrying twins), and some airlines don't allow you to fly near the end of pregnancy. Check with the airline their policy on this matter.

After 28 weeks of pregnancy, the airline may ask for a letter from your doctor confirming your due date and that you are not at risk of complications.

Long journeys (longer than 4 hours) carry a small risk of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis (DVT)).

If you are flying

  • drink plenty of water
  • Move regularly – every 30 minutes or so
  • Use compressive  stockings from the pharmacy to reduce leg swelling.

Car traveling during pregnancy

It's best to avoid long car trips if you're pregnant. However, if this is unavoidable, make sure you stop and get out of the car regularly to warm up and move.

You can also do some exercises in the car (when you're not driving), such as bending and rotating your feet and moving your toes. This will keep blood flowing through the legs and reduce any stiffness and discomfort. Wearing compression stockings during long car trips (more than 4 hours) can also increase blood flow in the legs and help prevent blood clots.

Fatigue and dizziness are common during pregnancy, so it's important to drink regularly and eat natural, energetic foods like fruits and nuts when traveling.

Maintain air circulation in your car and wear a seatbelt with a transverse belt between the chest and a lap belt through the pelvis under the pregnant abdomen and not across the abdomen

Road accidents are among the most common causes of injury in pregnant women. If you have to take a long trip, do not travel alone. You can also share driving with your companion.

Food and drink abroad during pregnancy

Be sure to avoid food- and water-borne illnesses such as  indigestion and travelers' diarrhea. Some medications to treat indigestion and travelers' diarrhea are not suitable during pregnancy.

You can get sick if you eat raw or undercooked food, or drink local water in some countries. Serious diseases such as hepatitis A and listeriosis can also be spread by contaminated food and water. These diseases can cause severe complications during pregnancy.

Eating safely can help you stay sick:

  1. Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables unless they have been cooked or you have washed and peeled them yourself.
  2. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish.
  3. Do not drink milk or eat foods made with milk that has not been pasteurized.

Tap water can be dangerous in many middle- and low-income countries. If you're traveling somewhere tap water is dangerous, follow these tips:

  1. Boil tap water for 1 minute before drinking it. Carbonated drinks are safe.
  2. Do not put ice made from unboiled water in drinks.
  3. Do not drink from glasses that may have been washed in unboiled water.
  4. Brush your teeth with bottled water.

And remember, you will enjoy your trip more if it is well planned and safe

Have a great journey

Authored by:
Oksana Mudra

Oksana Mudra

Specialist Obstetrician & Gynecologist

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